Originally created 06/03/04

Panel looks at pay issue

ATHENS, Ga. - The state Board of Regents could vote as early as next week to end private pay supplements for presidents in Georgia's 34-school system of colleges and universities.

The agenda for next week's monthly regents' meeting hasn't completely been set, but the pay item could be voted on, said Arlethia Perry-Johnson, the regents' spokeswoman.

At a special closed-door meeting May 25, the regents unanimously voted to end private pay supplements for university presidents.

But the group voted on the idea only in principle, she said.

"The board has not discussed this fully," Ms. Perry-Johnson said.

At the same meeting, regents voted to order University of Georgia President Michael Adams to cut ties with the University of Georgia Foundation, which gives Dr. Adams a salary supplement and other taxable benefits.

Presidential pay from private foundations became an issue last year during an effort by some members of the UGA Foundation's board of trustees to oust Dr. Adams. The board voted to limit the amount the foundation pays him.

If the regents end private salary supplements, it could tack more than $1.5 million onto the regents' annual budget, depending on what they might choose to include in a ban.

Presidents get salary supplements from private foundations affiliated with the state's four major research universities - the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and the Medical College of Georgia. But foundations at the schools also provide other taxable benefits such as country club memberships and automobiles, in addition to tax-deferred salary, bonuses and retirement accounts.

The presidents of two smaller colleges, Valdosta State University and Macon State College, also get salary supplements from private foundations at those schools.

Presidents at three of the state's research universities - Georgia State, UGA and Georgia Tech - get more than half their annual income from private foundations, much of it tax-deferred income tied to fund-raising success.

The foundation also left its annual three-day meeting in Sea Island last week without approving next year's budget, including pay for Dr. Adams.

The annual meeting was thrown into disarray when the regents announced the order for severance of ties between UGA and the UGA Foundation. The decision came just one day before the foundation's annual meeting began.

Dr. Adams' state pay is $239,103 this year, but his total pay is about $570,000, including his salary supplement, bonus, automobile, the disputed deferred compensation and other taxable benefits from the University of Georgia Foundation, according to Board of Regents records.


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